Celebrating the businesses that are Disability Confident

leading the way: Smith & Nephew in Hull is one of the companies to have demonstrated how easy it is to access a much richer, wider talent pool. Picture: mike cowlingleading the way: Smith & Nephew in Hull is one of the companies to have demonstrated how easy it is to access a much richer, wider talent pool. Picture: mike cowling
leading the way: Smith & Nephew in Hull is one of the companies to have demonstrated how easy it is to access a much richer, wider talent pool. Picture: mike cowling
As the Government has committed to a long term national Industrial Strategy to create an economy that boosts productivity and competitiveness, it is clear to me that this will only be achieved through having a skilled workforce to support all sectors of the economy.

At the LEP we are working with employers, partners and education providers throughout the Humber region to raise employment levels and to support all learners, and the potential future workforce, of all abilities the chance to either upskill or further their development through a number of pilots and projects.

One pilot that has proven to be particularly successful in our region is the This-Ability Partnership, having built strong relationships with businesses and stakeholders in the Humber working with the LEP.

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On Thursday 10th May 2018 the This-Ability Partnership will host an evening dinner and awards ceremony at the KCOM Stadium, to recognise and celebrate the great strides local employers have taken to access a more diverse workforce.

The Awards are being sponsored by Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group, KCOM Stadium and the Humber Learning Consortium’s Barbara Haigh Fund. There will be a number of categories for award at the event including the ‘Employee Award’, the ‘Employee Support Award’ and ‘Most Influential Employer’ amongst others.

This-Ability partnership was established in 2016 and is funded by the Big Lottery Project, Talent Match Humber. The partnership, which is made up of a consortium of local stakeholders, recognised that employers need more support to become confident when recruiting people who have a disability, learning difference or long-term condition.

It aims to streamline the support available to business in the Humber and raises awareness of the disability employment gap.

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It is a one-stop-shop for business, providing advice and support around becoming ‘Disability Confident’.

Employers from across the Humber region have been exploring different ways to recruit and retain disabled talent with great success.

The event in May aims to celebrate Disability Confident businesses and the people that go the extra mile to support the campaign in creating a more inclusive labour market.

I have spoken with Andy Crossland, Chief Executive Officer at Humber Learning Consortium (HLC) and the lead partner of the This Ability partnership who made clear the importance of employers being more engaged in providing vital work experience and the benefits of recruiting those who have a hidden or physical disability.

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“This celebration event is about continuing to raises awareness, it’s about inclusivity. Having people working with us who have learning disabilities or differences breaks down barriers, otherwise you become a group of very similar people, with very similar skills and that’s quite boring frankly and is missing the opportunity to use real talent.”

The partnership has received nominations from businesses of all sizes from across a range of sectors, including the likes of Smith and Nephew and MPH Fulfilment, based in Hull. These companies have demonstrated how easy to is to access a much richer wider talent pool.

This-Ability has plenty of strong cases to showcase at the awards in May, and have had some excellent feedback from business. Marc Henderson, Company Director at MPH Fulfilment, has actively recruited a young person with Autism and a learning difficulty.

“If I can show that I have somebody working on a busy factory floor, that is not slowing us down or creating any issues, then hopefully that will translate to other businesses.”

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The LEP fully supports the work that the partnership stands for. We have continued to work closely with the partnership, and have provided work experience for individuals with learning disabilities and barriers.

We fully support inclusivity in the Humber and these awards are the perfect opportunity to raise awareness within the region, and to celebrate the work being done thus far with our local businesses and the This-Ability Partnership.

Bridging the Skills gap in the Humber is essential if we are to fulfil our commitment to industry and allow for sustainable growth. We realise that be building an inclusive workforce and encouraging this approach can only benefit the Humber economy.